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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • clinical supervision;
  • community psychiatric nursing;
  • managers;
  • supervisors;
  • training

Since the early 1990s, clinical supervision has been the subject of debate by nurse academics and practitioners. This debate has encouraged the adoption of clinical supervision by the profession throughout the United Kingdom. Search of the literature demonstrates that there has been little published research regarding clinical supervision in Northern Ireland. This study is designed to redress this information deficit. The current position of clinical supervision in relation to community psychiatric nursing in Northern Ireland is explored and evaluated. A survey approach was adopted, collecting data from community psychiatric nurses (CPNs) in Health and Social Services Trusts in Northern Ireland. Data was obtained relating to the practice of clinical supervision and to attitudes of CPNs, their managers and supervisors. Results indicate that there is support for clinical supervision and that it is being implemented within community psychiatric nursing in Northern Ireland, although not in all cases. However, the findings indicate that serious education and training deficits exist, and the importance of the interface between managerial and clinical supervision is emphasized. The issues of providing effective education and training in supervision skills, and the uncertainty that was highlighted regarding fundamental concepts underpinning clinical supervision, have implications for nursing practice, education and management. In addition, based on findings of this study, the difference between management-led supervision and clinical supervision as envisaged by the UKCC, which promotes the personal and professional development of nurses, requires further exploration.